There are a handful of artists who can take five years off and stop the world when they announce their next project. Kendrick Lamar is one of those chosen few. When his fifth studio album, Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers, arrives this Friday (May 13th), you can bet we’ll be dropping everything.
Color us shocked but not shocked that Kendrick kept a somewhat low profile in the years since DAMN. released many moons ago in April 2017. He popped up in Baby Keem’s 2021 project, performed the hits at a Super Bowl halftime show for the ages, and made his presence known at this year’s Coachella. Consider those warmup acts to a main event where none of us know what to expect.
Before looking to the future, we figured it was appropriate to go back in time for a bit. Consequence’s brain trust got together and decided upon the 10 best Kendrick Lamar songs. This is the definitive list, though we’re more than positive Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers will have at least a few songs that qualify. In the meantime, enjoy, and scroll to the end for a playlist of all 10 tracks.
— Marcus Shorter
10. “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst”
If you’ve ever wondered what drives Kendrick as an artist, this song will reveal it to you. The verses flow between an inner dialogue and one he has with his community. Its infectious, cool beat underlays the sharp edges of his words, intertwining with the narrative of 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.d city and ending with a powerful chant of new beginnings. The curtain is raised, and Kendrick the prophet stands behind it — this is his manifesto. — Andre Heizer